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The 1999 loonygames Awards

Text by Jason Bergman
Vol. 2, Issue 7
December 21, 1999 
 

 

Adventure Game of the Year: Outcast
Runner Up: Omikron: The Nomad Soul

Would you believe that this category was determined by a single vote? Amazing. Both Omikron: The Nomad Soul and Outcast are remarkable games, managing to create an entire world for the game to take place in, complete with working cities, hundreds of people to talk to, hundreds of different locations, and it's all strung together with a genuinely intriguing plot.

There's no question in my mind that Outcast is a superior game, but it's only marginally so. Outcast is so epic in its scale, so advanced in the way it handles everything from its camera, to the interface and dialogue, that there are few adventure games ever made that can come close to it. If Omikron had been released any other year, it most certainly would have won this category...but unfortunately as good a game as it is, it simply isn't as perfect a game.

Which isn't to say that it doesn't have its merits, mind you. Omikron is an excellent title. I have never played a game before that successfully managed to merge a 3D fighting game with a first person shooter and an adventure title seamlessly. Actually, come to think of it, I don't think anyone's ever tried it before. And then, of course, there's the startling soundtrack by David Bowie, which simply must be heard to be believed (although Outcast's original score is breathtaking as well).

The bottom line is this: both games are fantastic. If you like adventure games and haven't tried either...well, shame on you.

Strategy Game of the Year: Homeworld.
Runner Up: Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings.

Call it a clash of the old with the new...Homeworld represents the future of strategy, as far as I'm concerned. The game has a wonderful story, a fully 3D camera in a way that not even Myth: The Fallen Lords can claim to have attempted, and so much action that it makes Total Annihilation look meek.

Age of Kings, on the other hand, is the worthy successor to a classic 2D strategy game that may have claimed as many lives (and jobs) as EverQuest. I asked my sister, Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman, our associate editor for some thoughts on Age of Kings:

I don't like strategy games overall. I like fast moving, quick action shooters, or busy role-playing games that keep me occupied. Age of Empires, and its sequel, Age of Kings, manage to combine the speed and action of the games I love, with the strategic elements of most strategy games. That with an easy interface, the best tutorial I've seen in a game in years, all create a wonderful game that just about anyone can pick up and play. Jump online after finishing the tutorial, and have a crazed match with someone in no time. If you want to practice, you can learn advanced tactics, but AoK is one of the first strategy games that is great for both the strategy gamer novice, and the advanced player.

Ultimately, it's a question of personal taste. While Age of Kings isn't quite as strong in the storytelling department (actually, it's not even close) it does follow in the time-honored tradition of fully open-ended games, a sub-genre perfected by Sid Meier. Both games, however, manage to give a nice jolt in the arm to the often boring strategy genre. Check 'em out.

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Credits: Illustration © 1999 David Jacques and Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, goldarn it.